The Smart Giga Hitters ended their three-game losing skid to start the 2018 Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Conference second round, powering past the struggling Sta. Lucia Lady Realtors, 25-23, 25-19, 25-19, at the Bacoor Strike Gym in Cavite.
Smart pulled 13 points each from Jerrili Malabanan and captain Aiko Urdas. Both players were pivotal in pushing the Giga Hitters to a close first set win.
The Giga Hitters dominated in the following sets, pulling away early and staving off late Sta. Lucia rallies.
With a 3-5 record, Smart head coach Roger Gorayeb still expressed concern with his team’s level of play – especially moving forward, since several players are set to miss matches.
“Siyempre, wala pa rin kami doon sa dapat naming nilalaro eh. Mahirap din kasi ‘di pa talaga 100 percent makapag-commit ‘yung mga bata,” said Gorayeb, as setter Jasmine Nabor will miss Thursday’s match against Foton due to a thesis defense; while starting libero Lizlee Ann-Pantone will miss Saturday’s tiff to attend to a family matter.
“Lahat naman ng panalo importante sa amin yan hindi naman kami leading kaya lang hindi mo pa rin makita yung laro na dapat makita,” the V-League triple crown champion coach added.
Jeanette Villareal topped the Lady Realtors with 11 markers, while Roselle Baliton added nine.
Sta. Lucia (0-9) faces Foton (5-2) on December 4 at the Batangas City Sports Center.
Smart (3) – Malabanan 13, Urdas 13, Sta. Rita 7, Carandang 5, Soltones 5, Nabor 4, Latigay 1, Villegas 1, Domingo 0, Pantone (L)
Sta. Lucia (0) – Villareal 11, Laborte 9, Maraguinot 7, Raslan 7, Lastimosa 4, Estoquia 3, De Leon 1, Rivera Re. 0, Demontaño (L)